Hello Mountain Weather Masters,

It’s been a great spring. Ellen and I finished installing our garden with the peppers going in last weekend. So starting late July if you want some tomatoes, basil, green or yellow beans, or squash, just let us know.

May has generally been cooler than normal with mixed precip signals. Mid May had a big closed low track through the Four Corners. It brought widespread Colorado precip but epic upslope valley rain and mountain snow for the Front Range to the Continental Divide.

Snowpack is now in full runoff mode and will increase into this coming weekend as temperatures finally climb above normal. (We have yet hit 90 degrees here in Dysfunction Junction which is somewhat unusual.) Current snowpack is above normal above the state. May began with SW CO having the highest snowpack. The mid-May storm really raised the snowpack percentages for the Upper Colorado and South Platte basins, to over 200% of normal.

June will start with some moisture being pulled in from the SW for afternoon convective showers favoring the south and central mountains. The latest outlook from the CPC shows an area of odds shifted towards for wetter and cooler than normal centered over Wyoming and extending across all of Colorado except the SW. This pattern continues for the entire summer, Jun-Jul-Aug, season. Apologies, I cannot add any further detail to how the CPC produced these outlooks. I am out of the analysis loop, and I am enjoying being out of the loop.

Monsoon? Has anyone heard any predictions for the monsoon? Again, I tend to believe a true sustained monsoon cannot work into Colorado until the snowpack has melted to near zero, thus allowing the high country to get warmer. So keep watching the snowpack.

Other climate signals: The northern Pacific Basin remains slightly warmer than normal, down from the record warmth of last year. In the tropical Pacific, ENSO is currently neutral, but in the short term, as in this last week, is trending warmer than normal. There is still plenty of uncertainty about the state of ENSO for the upcoming cold season. The best forecast is for a weak El Nino to emerge this fall, though ENSO neutral conditions are still possible.

The year-long outlook shows a strong tendency towards warmer than normal. Long term precipitation outlooks are always less certain. But here you can see a potentially wet fall season, then EC or equal chances into 2018. In this precipitation outlook you can see the effect of El Nino with increased probability of wetter than normal across the south, and drier than normal in the northern Rockies. From my analysis of Colorado response to El Nino, that dry signal should extend down into Steamboat Springs to Winter Park.

Next month I will not post this climate outlook until early July. I plan to be doing the Great Divide mountain bike route from I-70 to I-40 into early July.


Joe recently retired (a year in Oct.) from The National Weather Service then joined and strengthened the bench of Mountain Weather Masters.

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